Darts: Dudbridge lines up match with champion

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The Independent Online

Mark Dudbridge enhanced his growing reputation with a victory over Steven Smith in the second round of the Ladbrokes.com World Championship in Purfleet tonight.

Dudbridge, who came from nowhere to win the Winmau World Masters title last year, clinched a 3-0 victory to set up a match against the champion John Part tonight.

Smith, who at 24 has a bright future in the game, opened up a 2-1 lead in the first set, but Dudbridge twice nailed double 10 to snatch it. Dudbridge also fell behind in the next set before three successful attempts at double-top opened up a two-set lead for the man from Bristol. The 30-year-old was clearly not playing at his best. But he still had too much for his talented opponent and hit double-eight for a 3-1 success in the third.

Northern Ireland's Colin McGarry produced an impressive second-round display to set up a mouth-watering clash with the world No 1, Phil Taylor. The qualifier McGarry, who has only recently returned to darts after trying his hand at golf, sealed a 3-0 win over Manchester's Mark Holden.

Holden is not at his best but credit must go to McGarry, who took over after edging the first set by three legs to two. He nailed two attempts at double top on his way to a 3-0 success in the second set, and victory was clinched in the third with a shot at double eight. "I know I can play better," said the 38-year-old, who will face Taylor on Tuesday night.

Ritchie Buckle also looked impressive as he accounted for the American-based Steve Brown, ranked 32 for this tournament. The Dover thrower opened the game in style with a superb 132 checkout. The Welsh qualifier Wayne Atwood was another convincing winner as he overcame the experienced Mick Manning 3-0, while Belgium's Erik Clarys proved too strong for Mark Walsh and sealed an emphatic 3-0 success.

Lionel Sams booked his place in the third round before popping the question at the oche. Sams was divorced from Caroline in 1998, but they got back together and the 42-year-old said he would ask her to marry him again if he beat the Scotsman Alex MacKay last night.

It was a tense affair ­ for both Lionel and Caroline ­ but the Surrey thrower prevailed by three sets to two to set up a match against the Dutchman Roland Scholten. Caroline also accepted his proposal.

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